While many refer to Janice as the seventh friend, we think Gunther is clearly a more deserving character.
Gunther wasn’t in the pilot episode of the show, and didn’t make his first appearance until “The One with the Sonogram at the End.” Even after making his debut on the show in season one, it wasn’t until halfway through the second season that Gunther got his first line. After Marta Kauffman found out that Michael held a master of fine arts degree, she finally gave him a speaking line. And the line that started his career as everyone’s favourite coffee house worker? Yeah. Well, we’ve all got to start somewhere. Over the show’s run, Gunther became part of the set at Central Perk, going on to appear in 159 episodes of Friends. While many refer to Janice as the seventh friend, we think Gunther is clearly a more deserving character.
15 Gunther: When he knew the cure for a broken heart
When Joey fell in love with Rachel (yes, Joey fell in love!), he was suddenly thrown into the same misery that we all face at some point. Having to spend time with someone you love, but can’t be with, is tough. It’s even tougher on Valentine’s Day. Gunther came face to face with this misery-stricken man on the day in question and, like many baristas before him, wondered what he had actually asked. There is something about baristas, waiters and bartenders that just seems to make people pour their hearts out. Anyway, Gunther was quick to provide a solution: food! He knows Joey so well. Plus, red bagels? Best Valentine’s Day present ever. Who needs red roses when you can have this baked goodness?
14 Gunther: When he bought Rachel’s ‘cat’
In “The One with the Ball,” Rachel buys the most hideous cat the world has ever seen. Seriously, even Smelly Cat would have come up smelling of roses next to Mrs. Whiskerson. After discovering a cat that looked just like one she had played with as a child, Rachel made the impulse purchase, at the rather extravagant price of $1,000. Most people buy gum or a candy bar as an impulse purchase, but that’s Rachel for you. Anyway, the cat didn’t turn out quite as she had hoped. This left Rachel saddled with a cat that was scratching her to pieces and looked like it was inside-out. After struggling to re-home her feline friend, Rachel stumbled across the perfect customer, Gunther. Oh, poor, sweet, Gunther.
13 When he almost kissed Rachel
Remember Spin the Bottle? Those wonderful days when we would go along to our friend’s birthday party and spend the whole night hoping someone would suggest a game of Spin the Bottle so we would finally get to kiss our crush. Unfortunately, such fantasies never seem to go as planned, and getting stuck kissing your BFF is probably a more likely outcome. For Gunther, things didn’t go much better. In “The One with the Fake Party,” Rachel suggests a game of Spin the Bottle in a last-ditch attempt to try and win the heart of Joshua. While explaining the rules of the game, she spins and the bottle lands on Gunther! Unfortunately, for him, it’s merely a practise spin and Gunther is literally left hanging.
12 When he got a place on Judy’s list
Oh, The List, a hallmark of any modern relationship. A list of celebrities that you are allowed to sleep with, should the opportunity arise, without getting in any trouble with your SO. Whether this situation would ever work out in reality is another matter entirely, but the likelihood of most of us ever meeting Ryan Gosling is low to start with. Anyway, while most of the general public fill their lists with film stars, musicians and athletes, Judy Gellar has a much more unusual addition to her list. When Ross bumps into his parents in Central Perk, he learns that his mom has added Gunther, or as she calls him ‘the sexy blonde behind the counter,’ to her list. I’m not sure who is more scared, Ross or Gunther.
11 When he violated health and safety laws
In “The One Where Ross Moves In,” Phoebe finds yet another of her eclectic dates in the form of a health inspector. (Seriously, she does not have a type.) Things start to get difficult between Larry and Phoebe when he keeps shutting down every restaurant they go to for minor infractions, and then he meets her at Central Perk. Now, Gunther is trying his best, but sometimes we all resort to cutting a few corners in order to get through our daily chores. Unfortunately for Gunther, the day he chose to let his health and safety standards slip and take the trash out the wrong door, Larry was passing by. For a scary moment, we all worried about the fate of the coffee house, but Phoebe was there to save the day—phew!
10 When he used to be on a soap opera
It is a running joke that actors often start their careers while working as baristas or servers. Some of these dreamers unfortunately never manage to get their careers past this stage, and work in coffee shops for the rest of their lives. Others, like James Michael Tyler himself, manage to make it big and escape the coffee trade for good. Did you know that James got the part of Gunther because he was the only extra with barista experience? They’d have been fighting for the part today, where it is a struggle to find an extra that isn’t a trained barista. It seems things weren’t quite so fortunate for Gunther who admits that he once played Bryce in All My Children.
9 When he spoke Dutch
In ‘’The One with the Stain,’’ we find Rachel faced with the dilemma of where to live after her baby is born. The perfect solution presents itself when she hears someone is Ross’s building has died—meaning an apartment has opened up. But it wasn’t that simple, and it turned out that the Dutch occupant was still alive. Cue Ross trying to master the language of Dutch in order to win over the owner, and secure dibs on the apartment after she passes. While practising his Dutch in Central Perk, Ross learns that Gunther is fluent in the language. Never a fan of Ross or his on-off relationship with Rachel, Gunther swears at him in Dutch. Outwitting Ross—now that is impressive.
8 When he told on Ross
“The One with The Morning After” is the episode where Ross suddenly went from the best boyfriend ever to that awful cheater. But…they were on a break! Ross woke up and couldn’t believe what he had done, and neither could the rest of us. He then embarked on a race against time to stop the truth getting to Rachel. Because, as Joey and Chandler rightly say, “You’ve always got to think about the trail.” One thing Ross didn’t count on was the truth getting to Gunther. Armed with this juicy gossip, Gunther told Rachel everything. Cut to a heartbroken Rachel in Central Perk. Seriously, Gunther, we know that you are in love with Rachel, but ruining her relationship was a dirty move!
7 When Rachel makes him give Joey his job back
When you are crushing hard on someone, you might spend your days dreaming of talking to them. You think about what they will say and what witty things you will say back. But we all know that just remaining calm during such meetings can be tough. In “The One with the Joke,” Joey starts working at Central Perk and, let’s face it, he does a truly terrible job. He ignores customers, gives away free “birthday muffins” to every pretty girl in the place and even closes the coffee house so he can go to an audition. But when he loses his new job, Rachel is furious and angrily demands that Gunther give him his job back. Horrified that he has upset his beloved Rachel, Gunther hires Joey back, of course.
6 When he went to Ross’s bachelor party
Though Gunther has been invited to many a party during his time on the show, one of the best has to be Ross’s bachelor party. At first glance, this “bash” looked like the most low-key party the world had ever seen but, with Joey in charge, things get pretty wild. The episode title, “The One With The Worst Best Man Ever” set the tone for the evening: After Ross fell out with Chandler over the best man arrangements, Joey wound up taking on the duties of the job and arranged Ross’s bachelor party. Angry at his friends, Chandler chooses to announce that when he gets married Gunther will be his best man. Shame Chandler couldn’t remember Gunther’s last name though, because we think he would have been an awesome best man.
5 When he refused service to Rachel date
We can’t stop our crushes going out with other people, but that doesn’t mean we have to like these evil people. How dare they come in and steal the heart of the one we are meant to be with? This problem becomes even worse for Gunther, with Rachel going through dates at rather an impressive rate. Imagine if Tinder had been around in the ’90s! Gunther would have had to witness a parade of men coming to meet her in the coffee house. Oh, the ’90s, simpler times. Despite the lack of dating apps Rachel managed to score a number, rather a high number, of dates. But Gunther wasn’t going to let these men get away with stealing his girl and, on at least one occasion, refused service to them.
4 When he dreamed about talking to Rachel
You can’t beat a good bit of daydreaming. The British apparently spend an average of two hours a day daydreaming. From fantasizing about winning the lottery to imagining our dream body, daydreaming can be a lovely way to gain a bit of escapism from the horrors of reality. Gunther is no stranger to the pastime of daydreaming, and seemingly spends the majority of his time at Central Perk dreaming about Rachel. How he gets any work done at all is a mystery. Gunther dreams about telling Rachel how he really feels, asking her on dates and generally having a normal conversation with her. In reality, like many people, he never has the courage to tell her how he really feels. Keep on dreaming, Gunther.
3 When he rushes to hug Rachel, and misses
In “The One with the Dirty Girl,” Rachel was side-lined to one of the supporting storylines. While the rest of the gang are out living it up, Rachel is intent on completing a crossword puzzle all by herself. Now this may sound like the dullest storyline a character has ever been given, and frankly, it isn’t the greatest plot the show has ever seen, but who doesn’t get excited by the prospect of completing a crossword? We are convinced that only geniuses can complete the Times crossword single-handedly. After an entire episode, Rachel finally finishes the crossword and elated at her victory, she jumps up to hug someone. Gunther finally thought this was his chance and lunges towards the couch, meanwhile Phoebe and Monica walked in and beat him to it.
2 When he buys all of Ross’s furniture
Emily, giant trouble-causing Brit that she was, was not a fan of Rachel. While few are fans of Emily, we can all agree that we would be a bit cold towards someone whose name our husband had said at our wedding. After the name incident Emily, ran away and refused to move to New York and live with Ross, but she was finally convinced. However Emily would only move to New York if Ross promised to never see Rachel, and if he sold all his furniture. Apparently, Emily didn’t want to live in the same house as anything Rachel had sat on or used. But Gunther snapped up the chance to buy out all the items that had been close to his beloved.
1 When Phoebe kissed him
In “The One with Joey’s New Girlfriend,” Phoebe, who normally enjoyed singing in a happy and upbeat tone, tried out a new sultry voice. After catching a cold, Phoebe—ever the optimist—made the most of the situation and wrote some new music to go along with her new sexy voice. The problem was that this career as a blues singer could only last as long as she had the cold. So, when her cold went so did the “sexy phlegm.” Phoebe then went on a mission to try and catch a cold, trying everything from standing in the cold with wet hair to stealing Monica’s germ ridden tissues. But the answer came in Gunther, who she saw sneezing in the coffee house. Eager to steal his germs, Phoebe planted a kiss on a bewildered (and later, guilty-feeling) Gunther.